Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was finally able to put up my Christmas tree yesterday. If you know me, this is actually a really long time to wait. I was supposed to put it up the weekend of Thanksgiving, but the band ended up finding out on Saturday about a show we were supposed to play on Sunday and I wasn’t able to get to it.

My tree isn’t anything special. I picked it up at Wal-Mart for $20 a few years back. None of the guys in my house had enough for a tree themself so I figured I’d treat everyone. I’ve still got and use all the cheap little ornaments I bought for it. There was nothing sentimental about them when I bought them, but over the last couple years they’ve started to become so.

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I know there are a lot of people who complain about Christmas being “over-commercialized” and hate the holiday because of it. While I agree with them, I don’t share their sentiment. Everything is over-commercialized these days from music to church to Nascar, but it’s what YOU make of it that matters.

As a Christian, the biggest reason I’m thankful for the season is obvious. The reason it’s my favorite time of year though has to do with family. For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been the time for my family to get closer (and not just while opening dozens of presents). I remember years where we didn’t know if we’d have enough money for gas to drive around and look at Christmas lights, not enough for a Christmas tree, and not enough for lots of expensive presents. Come to think of it, despite the lack of packages underneath the 1-foot tall Christmas tree, the Christmas I’m referring too is probably one of the fondest memories of my life. Christmas with my family taught me that giving really is better than receiving and that there are more important things in life than things.

When I listen to Anberlin it inspires me to want to change the world. When I go to church I find my faith growing stronger. I don’t really watch Nascar, but I’m sure if I loved Dale Earnhardt Jr. he would inspire me in some way. The Christmas season inspires me to be a better person. I’m positive that if any of the ba-humbugs out there would use the time they spend complaining to, I don’t know, feed the homeless, buy presents for needy children (though that would, God forbid, feed the consumerism), or even call a friend who they know is going through a hard time or who they haven't spoken to in a long time, that the Christmas season would take on a whole new meaning for them. If that might be you, give it a try. I think you’d be surprised. I promise I won' tell anyone.

PS Another thing I love about Christmas is drinking a peppermint mocha while reading by the fire as it’s snowing outside.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It was a sunny day in Kansas and the small town carnival we just finished playing had been a success. Everyone was in a great mood. After the show, each of the guys went their own direction with their significant others and we decided to meet in an hour to get things loaded up. Mindy had come along with me and we had driven separate. We were going to be leaving before everyone else. While we were wandering I happened to bump into my Pastor from Omaha. I wasn't quite sure what he was doing down here, but after saying "hi" I forget to ask. After some cotten candy we headed back to my Blazer and started loading up the equipment. Soon enough it was starting to get dark and we were headed out.

About an hour down the road we decide we are hungry and want to stop to get something to eat. We'd had enough of restaurants and fast food so we decide to swing into the local grocery store to get something healthy. I pull into a parking spot and shut off the truck. I stretch and we sit in the truck talking for a couple minutes before heading in. The next thing I know, through the gap above the equipment piled in back, I can see flashing lights behind us. To my surprise there's also a police officer standing next to my window. He taps on it with his flash light. Not knowing what on earth I could have done, I roll down the window and stammer "Uhhh, is this not a parking spot?" "No your fine," he says, "but we've recently had a brash of killings in the area and we still haven't found the killer. You shouldn't just be sitting here like this. Lots of people are getting shot in the head." "We were just going to get something to eat," I say, frightened at this point, "is it ok if we run in real quick and grab something before we take off?" "Yeah that would be fine," he says, "but hurry up."

That's when he notices the equipment in the back of the truck. After examining it through the window with his flashlight he tells me he needs to search it. I pop open the rear window and start unloading stuff. As I pull out a suitcase, the merch box falls and pops open, spilling money everywhere. The cop picks up a hundred dollar bill and looks at me. "I'm in a band," I sputter, "and my bass player and drummer were supposed to put that in the money bag." He silently puts the cash back down. After further examination he tells me it's ok to load everything back up and that I'm free to go. I do exactly that. I'm not staying in this town any longer.

Finally everything is loaded except for one last suitcase. I thank the officer and extend my hand to shake his. He stands their stiffly, looking at me through his aviator sunglasses. That's when I notice what's going on around me. The streets are completely empty, the grocery store isn't even open and the flashing lights that I thought were police lights are really coming from a tow truck in a parking lot behind us. I slowly look back at the police officer. He's no longer wearing his sun-glasses and has taken off his hat. He's staring at me with evil eyes, his hair is wildly messy in the wind. His grin is crooked and menacing. I slowly look towards the gun on his hip and his hand quickly moves to draw it from the holster. I grab my suitcase and thrust it in front of my face, hoping to deflect the bullet first and defend myself second. That's when the officer shoves the gun to my hip and pulls the trigger.

My life flashes before my eyes as I envision the bullet tearing through my flesh and shattering my hip bone. I'll never walk again I think to myself as I'm falling to the ground.

I wake up gasping from my dream. It had been a toy gun. I remember that much. When he had pulled the trigger it was only a toy gun. It had made the "bang" sound and I had really thought I was being shot, but I wasn't and the cop laughed.

My heart is racing. I try to fall back asleep but it's impossible. I decide to roll over and try again, but feel I should check the clock first.

It's 5:03 am. The exact time to get up for work. My alarm never went off. Typically it's set for 4:27 and I hit snooze until around 5:00, but that didn't happen cause it had never been set. I stumble out of bed and try to make sense of it all. It's not until several hours later, after I get to work on time, that I'm able to shake the panicked feeling. I still wonder if there's more to understand.